Thank you for contacting the ASA recently with your complaint about Here We Flo Ltd (case ref. A23-1190454).
You may be interested to know that we previously received similar complaints about this ad, and we asked the ASA Council to determine if the ad broke the Advertising Rules or not. After careful consideration however, they decided that no further action should be taken.
The previous issues
1. Most complainants objected that the ad was overly graphic and offensive. Particular concern was raised regarding the claims “I’m a bloody mess”, “a bloody mess down there” and “the gardener can bury them in your rose bush”.
2. Fourteen complainants objected that the ad was inappropriate to be shown before 9pm and at times when children could be watching. One complainant objected that the ad, specifically the claim “bloody mess” was harmful to young girls about to start menstruation.
3. Six complainants objected that the ad was demeaning to women. One complainant raised specific concerns with the claim “No more period drama” because is suggested that all women were dramatic and overreact when on their period.
4. Two complainants, who understood that ‘bloody’ was a swear word, objected that the claim “bloody mess” was offensive.
5. One complainant objected that the ad was offensive to men because it portrayed stereotypical male reactions to menstruation.
The advertising rules
Advertisements should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm. We base our decisions on the content of the ad, when and where it appears, the audience and the type of product or service being advertised.
The ASA Council’s previous decision
The ASA Council’s assessment on the five points of complaint were:
1. The ASA Council noted that the ad was light-hearted in tone and did not include explicit or graphic content. While Council appreciated that some viewers may find the language and play on words distasteful, they did not consider it likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
2. The ASA Council noted that the ad had not been given a scheduling restriction by Clearcast which they considered appropriate given the content. In addition, they had not been presented with evidence to suggest that the ad had been broadcast during programming directed at children. Given this, along with the light-hearted context in which the claim was used and that the ad was not graphic or explicit, the ASA Council considered that it had not been scheduled inappropriately and that it was unlikely to cause harm to young girls.
3. The ASA Council considered that the claim ‘no period drama’ was likely to be seen as a light-hearted play on words regarding the setting of the ad and the use of the product rather than a suggestion that women were dramatic or overreact during their period. Council considered that the ad was unlikely to be seen as demeaning to women.
4. The ASA Council considered that "bloody" was a relatively mild swear word and had been used in the ad in a light-hearted way and in a specific context that was relevant to the product being advertised. Council considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on this point.
5. The ASA Council considered that the reactions of the male characters were likely to be seen as a light-hearted play on a typical period drama setting, in which the gender roles and reactions would typically be reversed. Council considered that it was unlikely to be seen as portraying a harmful stereotype and that it was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Our decision about your complaint
While we acknowledge your concerns, we consider as they are similar to those previously considered by Council, we won’t be taking any further action at this time.
We will however keep a record of your complaint for reference in our future assessments. We will also take your complaint into account in our regular, proactive ‘intelligence gathering’ sweeps, where we analyse a range of information – including complaints made to us – to report on issues, even when they have not broken the advertising rules, that have caused concern.
We hope this helps to explain our decision and thank you again for contacting us.